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Working with Care Providers: How to discuss FAM

Written by Tarina Mosley

As a soon to be graduated provider myself, I’ll admit, I’ve certainly been in the seat before where (even though I am well versed on fertility awareness methods (FAM)) I’ve looked at a client who has several children and I wonder to myself - 'I want her to use a fertility awareness method, but how will that be possible for her? She’s just so busy!'

As providers, I think we need to stop making assumptions about people and their ability to implement a protocol. I personally practice informed choice; I give my clients all the information and then they can make a choice based on what is best for them and their families. Not the other way around, where I make the choice for them. Sure, if the offer is out there and they decline, that’s an informed choice - that’s their decision to make!

What if, as a provider, you don’t know anything about fertility awareness methods?

woman stressed about FAM, she is reading a lot of books

You don’t need to be an expert in everything and that’s ok! It’s ok to admit that you don’t have the information, in fact, that should be the case. Not everyone can have the knowledge about everything out there and that’s why we have experts in the field. 

I think of it like this -in my midwifery training, we took one course, 3 credits, on nutrition. So, am i now qualified to provide extensive nutrition recommendations, or would it be better for my client to go to a registered dietician? The same principle applies to FAM.

As far as contraceptive training goes, (aside from the big ones that are typically pushed postpartum… mini pill, IUD etc.) I received little to no information about the fertility awareness method, condoms or non-hormonal options of birth control. In fact, the training we received on fertility awareness was related to the calendar method (also known as the rhythm method) which has a high percentage of failure rates. It's no wonder practitioners are worried about their client’s when they broach the conversation of FAM!

What can providers do?

First off, as providers, we need to admit our lack of information when it comes to fertility awareness. Take the time, a couple of minutes to explore the options, (like I said, you don’t need to become an expert). In the time that you could research a new drug, you could begin to become familiar with FAM and gain useful resources, which you can give to interested clients. 

Here is a list of websites that can be helpful when beginning to search for information:

Within those websites you can find a wealth of information and a list of fertility awareness educators, for those who are considering FAM as a long-term birth control option. 

Why as a provider should you consider FAM as an option for your clients?

Due towoman feeling ill, side effects due to hormonal birth control the range of side effects, (I know for myself, my doctor had a difficult time prescribing me a contraceptive due to migraines with Auras) there is a long list of reasons why a client might be back in your office three months later, asking for another option. Fertility awareness is free of side effects and empowers your client to learn about their bodies’. It’s a win-win!

Fertility awareness is a well-researched, highly effective method of avoiding pregnancy, particularly when a client is working with an instructor. Aside from initial start-up costs, there isn’t an ongoing fee like there is with hormonal contraceptives. 

But… I don’t have enough time!

You may be thinking 'my appointments with my clients are short as it is, fifteen minutes, I can’t possibly talk about fertility awareness in such a short time...'. But it is possible in just a few steps: 

  • Do your research (albeit perhaps outside of work hours)
  • Gain the basic information that you need to refer clients out
  • Consider partnering with a fertility awareness educator OR have a typed list of applicable websites as a hand-out.

That’s really all it takes!

How do I approach my provider if I want to use a fertility awareness method?

Attend your appointment prepared:

  • Equip yourself with information, you never know your provider might just learn something new!
  • Be clear that it is not the calendar method, it is the fertility awareness method of birth control.
  • Talk about websites where you can find more information
  • Talk about research studies that are available to confirm its efficacy. 

In the end, you don’t need to convince your provider to be able to use this method, it is your body and your choice. If they are adamant against using FAM, I would recommend finding another provider or politely declining the hormonal contraceptive options that are presented, you don’t need their permission. 

How does Tempdrop fit into this equation?

As a provider, particularly those who work with postpartum clients, Tempdrop is a game changer when it comes to the postpartum period! For some, having to wake at the same time everyday without evening disruptions is near impossible, especially when you are breastfeeding your baby. Tempdrop is useable, even in these cases and allows for you to continue to temp throughout the postpartum period in a convenient manner! You can offer your clients’ a convenient method of temping that is suitable for their busy lifestyles!

track your cycle with tempdrop

So, whether you are a provider yourself who would like to learn more about what FAM has to offer, or you are a client who is planning on bringing FAM to your next appointment, fertility awareness is an excellent option of birth control: 

  • it is highly effective,
  • usable in a variety of reproductive circumstances,
  • and empowers people to become literate on the inner workings of their own body!

Now how cool is that!

Fertility, fertility awareness, bbt,

Tarina Mosley is a certified fertility awareness educator through the FEMM institute and a student midwife. She first discovered fertility awareness after experiencing a multitude of side effects from the Mirena IUD. Soon after, she herself received instruction - became obsessed with the method and sought education. She has a passion for providing clients with comprehensive and individualized instruction based on informed choice. She has a keen interest in working with those who are trying to conceive. She is based out of Alberta, Canada but provides instruction to clients all over the world. You can find her website www.fertilityfreedom.net or follow her Instagram account @fertilityfreedom.

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